27 July 2009

BodyJam 50 Track List

Looking forward to a great DVD release, featuring one of my Jam trainers - Fetty Fatimah! I think she's gonna be hot up there!

1 Saturday (Fedde le Grand vocal mix main) - Cunnie Williams feat. Monie Love
2 Love, Sex, Magic - Ciara feat. Justin Timberlake

Mambo Extravaganza
3 75, Brazil Street (original club vocal mix) - Nicola Fasano vs Pat-Rich
4 I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho) - Pitbull
5 75, Brazil Street (Steve Forest & Paul Simon mix) - Nicola Fasano vs Pat-Rich

Cardio Funk
6 I Wanna Rock - DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince
7 Voice of Freedom - Freedom Williams
8 Set it Off - J. Williams

9 Blame It - Jamie Foxx feat. T-Pain

Tribal House
10 Pictures (tonite only remix) - Sneaky Sound System
11 Suburban Knights (Steve Angello & Sebastian Ingrosso mix) - Hard-Fi
12 Finally 2008 (Kam Denny & Paul Zala remix) - Denzal Park

13 Spotlight - Jennifer Hudson

23 July 2009

Belacan in Beijing

Last Sunday I was walking around looking for a place to have lunch when I came across.... a Malaysian restaurant! Looking at the menu, I knew I had to try it. Not that I was pining for Hokkien Mee or Or Chien (after all, I'll be back in 8 days), but I really wanted to see how well our cuisine is represented here.

Entering the tastefully decorated place with Malay wood carvings and motifs, I was seated next to the window in a comfortable sofa. The waitresses wore tight and glittery baju kebaya, but I didn't check if they knew any Malay. Some generic Malay pop music was playing in the background, but it wasn't anyone I recognized. Certainly nothing as old as P. Ramlee, but nothing as recent as Siti Nurhaliza either. I proceeded to scan through the English/Chinese menu (what? No BM?).

Here's what I ordered for my lunch:
  • Otak-otak: The taste is too mild and it was a bit too dry/hard. So it tasted more like fish cakes than the mushy and soft versions.
  • Kangkong Belacan: The star of my meal! The belacan taste is authentic, and brought me back to choo char outlets back home. However, the Chinese are not known to be big fans of spicy dishes (except their own Sichuan cuisine) so the kangkong wasn't fiery at all.
  • CKT (Char Kuey Teow): Ahh... I consider this the gold standard of any Malaysian cook! And the CKT here wasn't up to par at all. Alright, for someone who hasn't tasted home for 3 months, it was passable. But thinking of it with a critical tongue, the rice noodles were too thick (twice of what it should be), and it tasted mostly of soya sauce with not enough depth or crispiness. Still, a commendable effort since it has large prawns and lap cheong (no cockles, though I'm not a fan anyway).
  • Ais Kacang: I'm still unsure if it was meant to be ais kacang or ABC. The glaring difference: gula melaka is used instead of sirap ros dan sarsi. Ice was blended in a machine, so lacked the fine shaves of true ais kacang. FAIL.
Here are the prices of some of their dishes. There is a wide variety of multi-cultural cuisine. If I weren't dining alone, I would have tried one of their rendangs or curries.
  • Otak-otak: RMB32
  • Rojak: RMB28
  • Satay (6): RMB42 (WTH?!?)
  • Kangkong Belacan: RMB26
  • CKT: RMB36
  • Laksa: RMB38
  • Hokkien Char (Penang style): RMB35
  • Char Koay Kak: RMB35 (WTF?!?!)
  • Nasi Lemak: RMB42
  • Nasi Goreng Melayu: RMB32
  • Chinese Chicken Rice: RMB42
  • Roti Canai: RMB18 (Holy mother of ....!)
  • Bubur Cha Cha: RMB18
  • Ais Kacang: RMB28
  • Teh Tarik: RMB18
  • Tom Yum Soup: RMB25

I've started to compile what I'll be eating on the Saturday and Sunday after I return. Hokkien Mee, Char Koay Teow, Loh Mee, here I COME!!!

19 July 2009

How Many...

How many engineers do you need to buy food from the wet market?


One to select and pay for the vegetables,
One to carry those vegetables, and
One to note down the price of those vegetables for the purpose of expense claims.

15 July 2009

Lulling You to Sleep

From making all my "Banana in Beijing" vlogs, I confirmed what I have suspected for some time - I have the vocal range of a damp sponge. If I were asked to make an audiobook of the Harry Potter books, I'm sure it would top the bestseller's list under the "Best Audiobook to Cure Insomnia" category.

So I guess this strikes out an acting/singing career?

13 July 2009


I just recently bought a RM430 Nike iD dance shoe, but my other athletic shoe (for non-dance classes) have shown signs of wearing out. I have a feeling I might have to buy another pair of shoe before the end of the year! Damn... what a shame I can only claim up to RM300 for sports equipment in tax relief.

Facebook Cold Turkey

(Update: Found a way that works! Back on Blogger and Facebook!)


My company has installed extra content filtering on its firewalls, preventing me from using a US proxy to access Facebook and Blogger. Argh!

I'm able to post this via e-mail, but for the next 2 weeks I'm forced to be Facebook-free. Wish me luck.

08 July 2009

Damn It!

Last night we had dinner at a Belgian restaurant called Morel's. Reviews highly recommended their mussels so we ordered that. Little did I know it would change my life forever.

You see, it was the best ****ing mussels I've ever had in my entire life!

I'm kinda angry now because the bottomline is: every mussel I have from now on will be compared to Morel's. And then I will get even angrier because I know Morel's is a 6.5 hour flight away, not exactly someplace I could go on a whim. I didn't even feel this strongly about Peking roast duck, so you know this is special.

I know what most guys think - mussels are like a poor man's version of oysters. A large shellfish as well, but it's a bit more chewy and less flavourful. Well, Morel's is different.

Imagine: boiled mussels so soft it offered no resistance when plucked from its shell. Merely a few bites later and it's sliding down your throat, making you lunge for the next mussel before everyone else finishes it.

Imagine: the smell and taste of fresh seafood without a sandy aftertaste.

Imagine: leftover jucies that are clear and tasty enough to be made into seafood chowder or a seafood broth.

THAT'S Morel's.

The mussels are imported, and I can see that they've cleaned each mussel individually. That's why there's no icky membrane and sand/mud deposits within the mussel. So there's none of that black stuff mucking up the taste as is common with other restaurant's mussels.

So that's why I say: Damn it!

06 July 2009

Under Control

At my last weigh-in, I'm hovering around 75kg. This is good - at least I know I'm not balooning uncontrollably! With less than 4 weeks before I return, it's time to shake off unresponsible eating behaviour and get back on the fitness circuit!

03 July 2009

Changing Tides

Well! After my previous outpouring of negativity, things have certainly looked up! I think writing all those thoughts down really flushed it out and prepare me for the awesomeness about to happen.

I finally attended a BodyJam class in Beijing last night and it rocked! They went through BJ48 one last time, and it was interesting to see how they taught in a smattering of English and Mandarin. Basic cues alternate between languages (one, two, three is usually followed by yi, er, san), while motivational cues are usually in Chinese.

One thing to note is that their DVDs are not localized. So all the cueing and booklet is in English. I think this slightly hampers their repertoire of Flava cues as some cues in English just don't sound right in Chinese! So it's up to the individual instructor's ability to formulate new Flava and Breakout cues. Luckily the instructor I met (Johnson) knows how to bring out the fun out in Jam.

Anyway the good news is that they're launching BJ49 next week and I was invited to join them on stage! I kept warning them that my banana-ness might cause learning problems with the members, but they insisted on me teaching a track or two. Since they've been such gracious hosts, I'd be rude to turn them down. So I agreed to teach the Latin and Recovery tracks.

Only three things to do now: practice, practice, practice! I won't let Malaysia down, I promise! :)

You got me burnin' up!

Womanizer (Benassi Radio Edit) - Britney Spears

01 July 2009

Save Me, I'm Lost

A wonderful song you probably have not heard:

Show Me What Im Looking For - Carolina Liar

The music video on Youtube.

Carolina Liar - Show Me What I'm Looking For
Wait, I’m wrong
Should have done better than this
Please, I’ll be strong
I’m finding it hard to resist
So show me what I’m looking for

Save me, I’m lost
Oh lord, I’ve been waiting for you
I’ll pay any cost
Save me from being confused
Show me what I’m looking for
Show me what I’m looking for…oh lord

Don’t let go
I’ve wanted this far too long
Mistakes become regrets
I’ve learned to love abuse
Please show me what I’m looking for

Save me, I’m lost
Oh lord, I’ve been waiting for you
I’ll pay any cost
Save me from being confused
Show me what I’m looking for
Show me what I’m looking for…oh lord

Show me what I’m looking for
Show me what I’m looking for
Show me what I’m looking for

Save me, I’m lost
Oh lord, I’ve been waiting for you
I’ll pay any cost
Just save me from being confused
Wait, I’m wrong
I can’t do better than this
I’ll pay any cost
Save me from being confused
Show me what I’m looking for
Show me what I’m looking for
Show me what I’m looking for
Show me what I’m looking for…oh lord


(This post reads like a cluttered mess because that's what my mind is at the moment)

Last night I had one of my rare emo moments.

I was practicing BodyJam in front of the mirror and as usual I video-ed myself. My thoughts during the session:
  • Why can't I feel the bounce in my feet?
  • Dammit, where's the twist in the body?
  • Argh, I keep forgetting to lock my arms!
  • Where are the hips? Twist it, twist it, twist it! Bigger! More hips!
  • Remember to walk on your toes in Latin!
  • I'm starting to cue like a droning robot again
  • Oh, I will cringe when I see these armlines in the video later
  • Point your toes dammit! Point them!
  • I need to drop down lower, bend my knees more, get my butt close to the floor...
  • Sigh... my weak center of gravity is killing my turns
  • Ah... I'm already panting so much when I'm only halfway through!
  • I'm supposed to jump - why do I feel I'm just hopping?
After my session ended, a wave of disappointment washed over. Was that all I could do? After more than 1 year of BodyJam, and 1 year before that of general aerobics, I'm left wanting more. I don't expect perfection, but everytime I review myself I'm so upset. And the feedback I get reflects that.

I usually get two types of feedback. Members of my class usually praise me. They'll say I'm good, I move well, etc. One even proclaimed loyalty, saying she'll never miss my class no matter what. They're good to hear, and I appreciate them, but they're just members, y'know?

On the other hand, I have rarely received true compliments from colleagues or other instructors. We have higher expectations of each other, and we can spot many more things than ordinary members can. And so, I know, whether they say it out loud or keep it in their hearts, I know their opinion of me is, "Meh... he's just ok nia."

At the heart of the matter is the issue of instructor clearance. In certain health clubs, every new instructor has to be mentored by a head teacher, who will 'clear' that trainee instructor upon satisfying certain criteria.

And 1 year on, I still haven't been cleared. Is that a failure on my part or my mentor's? No joke, I'm tempted to blame my mentor for holding out the clearance, but I know in my heart that it's mostly my own failings. Looking at my own video, I feel such a discontentment that it borders on disgust. No wonder I can't get cleared - even such a simple acknowledgement by peers is out of my grasp.

And I'm tired. I'm really, really exhausted. I've been travelling so far on an empty tank I'm amazed at my own perseverance sometimes. Or is it actually foolishness?

I want to be great. I want to be a good role model for *other* instructors, not just to the members. But I'm thinking maybe I'll never be good enough. I only started enjoying dance less than 3 years ago, and I have no basic dance training to fuel my technique. So I feel like I'm a paralympic runner sometimes. No one expects a paralympic runner to outrun an Olympic runner. Maybe I shouldn't expect a weak instructor like myself to outdo my peers?

Adding to my current frustrations, I had hoped that coming to Beijing will give me much needed time to improve my dancing. This is my opportunity to come here and then go back as a better instructor. But from last night, it's clear I haven't moved an inch from my spot.

I'm sick. And I'm tired.

There's a difference between being too hard on myself, and just being frank. I'm not going to delude myself into thinking I'm already good enough. And 'good' will be far too much of a compliment to give!

So, after all this ranting, now what? Now I keep going on. Am I giving up? No. Am I dispirited? Yes. But I know, though I'm moving at a snail's pace, I will get there. I must! This is my passion. Though it may not manifest on stage, and others can't see it, I know the flame is in my heart, and it burns brighter everytime someone tries to throw water on it.

My theme song for the moment is Hairspray's "Come So Far (Got So Far To Go)":

Come So Far (Got So Far To Go) - Queen Latifah, Nikki Blonsky, Zac Efron And Elijah Kelly